Why sleep deprivation is different to being tired
“I’m so tired” – the phrase guaranteed to wind any sleep-deprived parent up when it comes from the mouth of anyone other than another sleep-deprived parent .
Being tired is very different from the endless sleep deprivation over a period of years during early parenting.
- I have been tired from partying hard at university
- I have been tired from being poorly
- I have been tired from revising and studying really hard
- I have been tired from working a long, stressful week at work and dealing with a range of issues
- I have been tired from jet lag
- I have been tired because I have not slept through worry
- I have been tired from physically pushing my body – like during a marathon
- I have been tired from pregnancy
- I have been tired from long labours, inductions and difficult births
I have felt all of these types of tiredness and yet none of these compare to the sheer, sometimes overwhelming exhaustion from years of sleep deprivation.
Remember that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture – any parent, who has gone through this, and especially those who handle this alone, without a partner willing to share the load, will tell you that is true – this means of course that sleep deprived parents would probably make awesome spies! I always wanted to be a spy!
The sleep-deprived (not tired) among us are opening ourselves up to a range of frightening things. Aside from irritability, there are a number of side effects of sleep deprivation:
- Impaired brain activity
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Accidental death
- Memory problems
- Micro sleep
- Accident prone
- Weight gain
- Weakened immune response
- Cold and Flu
- Blood pressure problems
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Heart disease
So next time you get cross with someone for forgetting something, dropping the jam, yawning whilst you are talking, putting something in the wrong place or some other crime of epic proportions – just take a moment to ask yourself if they are a parent, and if they are, cut them some slack because they are being slowly tortured!
If you are a parent lucky enough to pass this all over to your partner every night then hug them a little tighter tomorrow night and be grateful that they are saving you from the list of nasty things above.
Are you being tortured?